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A Look at the State Republican Platforms:  Our patriotic Christian nation, from K-12

A Look at the State Republican Platforms: Our patriotic Christian nation, from K-12

Many social conservatives believe that there is a "war on religion" and in a spirit reminiscent of the Cold War, are pushing for a renewed sense of patriotism and Christian revival.

In the Christian right's worldview, an important missionary target concerns the "4-14 Window," referring to "the demographic group from age four to fourteen years old, which is the most open and receptive to every form of spiritual and developmental input." In their view, public schools represent "platforms for a values-neutral message that impedes education and denigrates Christianity." It thus comes as no surprise that religiously-themed Republican platforms emphasize the promotion of prayer, God and religion in the public schools.

Lessons in proper patriotism such as daily recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance with specific references to "One Nation Under God" appear in many of the state Republican platforms. Some of them emphasize that Christian, Biblical and religious influences in the nation's founding must be taught as part of the history curriculum. Similar to the "religious liberty" clauses discussed above, many of the platforms stress the view that the use of the word "God" must remain in the Pledge of Allegiance, coinage, and in public displays.


{Video Link: The Pledge in 1950}

Highlights:

Excluding the teaching of creationism (covered in the next section), religiously-based and patriotic themes recommended by state Republican parties for public school children include:

  • The Republican platforms of Alaska, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas emphasize that patriotism, in the form of daily recitals of the Pledge of Allegiance, must be a part of all public school classes. They specifically prohibit the deletion of references to "One Nation Under God" and/or "In God We Trust" when it comes to patriotism.
  • The GOP platforms of Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas specifically state that Judeo-Christian foundations of United States history should be taught. Others, such as Iowa, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Vermont recommend the teaching of the country's "religious heritage" or similar terms, such as "religious influence" or "religious values." The Wyoming GOP refers to "biblical principles" that were relied upon in the formation of the country.
  • Prayer and references to God in public schools are encouraged by the Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas. Some states, like South Dakota, encourage the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools.
  • The Nebraska GOP recommends that "moral training on principles established by God" be taught in public schools.
  • The Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas GOP platforms condemn teaching multiculturalism in schools.
  • Oklahoma Republicans condemn references to all worldviews except Judeo-Christianity in public schools, including "secular Humanism, New Age philosophy, deep ecology, reincarnation, psychotherapy, channeling, transcendental meditation, altered states of consciousness or any occult practice."
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(1) Church, state, and an overview of state Republican platform trends.

(2) Our godly heritage and religious liberty.

(3) Our patriotic Christian nation, from K-12.

(4) More than 1 in 5 Republican parties agree: Creationism should be taught as science.

(5) God bless the zygotes.

(6) The gays and minorities must be marginalized to save America!

(7) With liberty and justice for all (except pregnant women, gays, and people who don't like religion in the public square).

(8) Getting America back on track with faith-based programs.

Source materials (links to quoted materials).

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Indepth Reviews of State GOP Platforms on God and Patriotism in the Public Schools:

Subsection III.C. of Alaska's Republican platform states,

We support daily recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, including the words "under God", proper display of the United States and State flags, and active promotion of patriotism in our schools. We also support teaching the accurate historical Judeo-Christian foundation of our country and the importance of our founding fathers, the Declaration of Independence, federal and state constitutions, and other founding documents.

Arizona's Platform (2010-2011) is fairly benign, stating that the modern Republican Party has been built on faith, family and freedom, which are values "to be taught to each new generation of Americans."

Arkansas Republicans declare in Paragraph 14, under HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS, that references to God should be permitted in all school functions including athletic activities and graduations.

Paragraph 35 of the Colorado Republican platforms states that "It is resolved that Colorado Republicans support retaining the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance."

Iowa Republicans oppose teaching multiculturalism and say,

"We support the teaching of the documents and beliefs of our Founding Fathers, with emphasis on patriotism, citizenship, responsibility, respect for our country and its symbols, and pride in the United States' unique contributions to liberty and freedom, and U.S. history, including its religious heritage. We call for the teaching of documents such as: "The Mayflower Compact", "The Declaration of Independence", "The U.S. Constitution", "The Federalist Papers", and the Iowa Constitution among other items that share the ideas of the Founding Fathers."

According to Louisiana's 2008 GOP Platform, " Our nation was founded on faith in God, family, country, and freedom. Efforts to modify or replace these core values erode the foundations of our society for future generations." Louisiana Republicans want the recognition of God in schools and demand that state universities and colleges "should not promote any religion through required reading assignments and courses." It is unclear whether this clause applies to any religious studies classes offered at the university level. From their platform:

Article III: Individual Liberty

4. The state must not control or interfere with our freedom of religion and the voluntary expression thereof. We oppose efforts to remove the recognition of God from our schools and from our Pledge of Allegiance. State colleges and universities should not discriminate for or against any religion; and should not promote any religion through required reading assignments or courses.

Article VII: Education

7. All schools should encourage patriotism and knowledge of the traditional values of Western civilization upon which our republic is based. We oppose using public dollars to fund attempts at social engineering contrary to the foundations on which our nation rests. We support daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools, and we believe every classroom should display an American flag and a copy of our national motto "” "In God We Trust."

Minnesota Republicans "believe that every classroom should be required to display the United States flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily. In keeping with our heritage, all history classes should include information about the important role religion played in our Nation's founding, including study of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and other original sources."

The education section of Nebraska's Republican platform states,

"We believe moral training based on principles established by God, under whom we profess to be a nation, should be returned to its proper and traditional place in the public schools."   [pullquote]We believe moral training based on principles established by God, under whom we profess to be a nation, should be returned to its proper and traditional place in the public schools.[/pullquote]

In its section on Education, North Carolina Republicans declare in Article VII that:

1. Parents have the right to educate their children. As dictated by the N.C. Constitution, the state has the responsibility to provide it. Parents should expect excellent public education. All children should have access to an education that empowers them to reach their full God-given potential and contribute to the betterment of our society.

[...]

7. Schools should encourage patriotism and other values of Western civilization. They should teach the facts of the foundation of the United States, including the Declaration of Independence and federal and state constitutions. Schools should teach economics and government so that students will be prepared to vote as informed citizens.

8. We support regular recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, display of an American and State flag and use of our national motto "In God We Trust."

school prayerVoluntary school prayer and religious activities are specifically recommended in a number of state Republican platforms, such as:

  • Arkansas – Education Section 4. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. We, therefore, support the right of the individual to pray in all public schools;
  • Georgia -We will energetically assert the right of students to engage in voluntary prayer in schools and to have equal access to school facilities for religious purposes);
  • Iowa -12.10. We believe prayer in public institutions should not be prohibited. Current restrictions on voluntary prayer should be removed;
  • Louisiana – 10. Learning must rely on moral principles supported by our deepest convictions. We support the right of students to engage in voluntary prayer in school and the right of others to pray as well at public occasions such as commencement exercises, without the fear of retribution or persecution. We also strongly support equal access to school facilities.
  • Mississippi "“ Mississippi Republicans support voluntary, student-led prayer in our public schools; and
  • North Carolina – 13. We support the right of students to pray in school and at public occasions without censorship.

When it comes to the Christian religion in the public schools, the Oklahoma GOP's 2011 platform may be even more stringent and theocratic than neighboring Texas. Only the Christian religion can be taught in public schools, according to Oklahoma Republicans, who condemn "secular Humanism, New Age philosophy, deep ecology, reincarnation, psychotherapy, channeling, transcendental meditation, altered states of consciousness or any occult practice." National educational standards are shunned by Oklahoma Republicans. The Oklahoma GOP platform on Christianity as part of public education is so breathtaking in its scope that most of it is copied below:

II. EDUCATION

Preamble:

We acknowledge our dependence upon Almighty God and ask His blessings upon our students and their parents, teachers and nation. It is the right and responsibility of parents to direct their children's upbringing and education whether public, private, charter, or home school, without interference, regulation, or penalty from the government.

The primary goal of public schools should be to teach proficiency in the basic subjects of phonics-based reading, written and oral communication, mathematics, sciences, traditional history, founding documents and Godly heritage of our nation, and critical thinking skills.

Locally elected school boards should have the authority to determine and implement all public school curricula, policies, and procedures for their districts. We demand excellence and accountability from all tax-funded institutions of education in Oklahoma. The federal government has no constitutional role in education; Furthermore, we support the creation of a free market education system. We believe Oklahoma students are among the best and brightest and deserve a quality education.

A. Philosophy

1. The traditional family unit, consisting of a (husband) man, (wife) woman and child(ren), is the foundation of our social structure. The Oklahoma Department of Education and various Boards of Regents should uphold and teach this definition of traditional family at all levels of public and higher education.

2. Funding of School-to-Work in any form should be eliminated. Individuals should have the right to choose their own education and career. We oppose any tracking system, which presumes to know what is best for the individual and economy or predetermine the occupations of students.

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4. Parents have a right to exempt their children from required school vaccinations for: medical reasons, religious reasons, or other reasons of conscience; nor should any child be required to take a medication as a requirement for attending a public school.

5. Parents have a natural right to home school their children. We oppose any and all regulation of home schooling.

6. We affirm the right of students and teachers to the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment, including the right to wear and display religious symbols, voluntary vocal prayer, optional Bible and religious study, religious expression including holidays, and equal access to use of school facilities for these activities.

7. The American flag should be displayed in the classroom. Students should start the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, including "one nation under God", and be taught the history of and respect for our American flag.

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10. The Ten Commandments should be posted in all public schools as a means of moral guidance along with our national motto "In God We Trust" and the Bill of Rights.

11. We oppose the deliberate misuse of standard English and the alteration of historical facts.

12. We believe in high educational standards with a goal of academic literacy. Promotion and graduation for all students in Oklahoma should be for demonstrated academic achievement. A high school diploma should represent a 12th grade level of proficiency in basic subjects.

13. Public schools shall not prohibit the Judeo-Christian worldview upon which our country was founded. Public schools shall be prohibited from promoting other worldviews such as, but not limited to, secular Humanism, New Age philosophy, deep ecology, reincarnation, psychotherapy, channeling, transcendental meditation, altered states of consciousness or any occult practice.

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15. The imposition of national curricula, aptitude testing, and teacher certification or education standards on any Oklahoma school is not acceptable.

16. To comply with the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Department of Education should be eliminated and its functions transferred to the states, local communities, and parents.

B. Curriculum

1. Basic school curricula should include reading, composition, literature, mathematics, science, history, and government. Reading shall include phonics instruction, and composition shall include grammar and spelling instruction. We encourage the teaching of art, music, foreign languages, sports/physical fitness, and the option of using the Bible as a history or literature text.

2. American heritage should be taught in public schools and include representative government, limited government, the lives and beliefs of the founders, influence of the Bible and religion on our laws and principles, and the concept of free enterprise. Students should study directly from the primary founding documents, which teach the distribution of power among three branches of federal government and between federal and state government.

3. We support high morals and "Character First Education" as legitimate elements of public school curricula.

4. We believe that the scientific evidence supporting Intelligent Design and biblical creation should be included in Oklahoma public schools curricula. And where any evolution theory is taught, both should receive equal funding, class time, and material. Teachers should have the freedom to cover creation science without fear of intimidation or reprimand.

5. Local school boards should exercise their right to choose curriculum and textbooks without state limitations.

6. Parents must maintain the right and responsibility to educate their children regarding sexuality and sexual conduct. Neither classroom instruction nor school-based health services shall usurp parental rights, in order to direct sex counseling or to dispense contraceptives.

7. Any mandated sex education shall hold to the following guidelines:

a. Neither homosexual nor extramarital sexual activity shall be presented as safe, nor shall they be presented as morally or socially acceptable behaviors.

b. HIV shall be presented as incurable and fatal.

c. No formal sexual education from birth through 11 years of age. Abstinence or lifetime fidelity shall be presented as the only safe sexual practice.

d. All materials and instruction shall be open to prior parental review (opt in vs. opt out).

8. Fully informed parental consent shall be required for any psychological, medical or pseudo-psychological techniques including "values clarification," any form of "death education," "self-esteem," or other social/emotional concepts.

9. We oppose the portrayal of homosexual or promiscuous behavior in a positive light in public schools.

10. Criteria for high school graduation shall be at least equivalent to the level of knowledge required for naturalized citizenship.

11. Multiculturalism promotes cultural segregation and should not be taught. We respect different cultures and support teaching our commonalities as U.S. citizens.

The South Carolina Republican platform also opposes multiculturalism and adds,

We believe children have the right to attend safe, drug- free schools "“ wherever they may be. We applaud cultural sensitivity but oppose "multi-culturalism" as being divisive. We believe maintaining English as the standard language will enhance full participation of recent immigrants in our broad American culture and more effectively address their educational needs. As a reminder to children that our blessings as a free people stem from being "one nation, under God," we call for the right to voluntary prayer and a requirement that the "Pledge to the Flag" be recited daily. We oppose any attempt to denigrate the historical role of religion in our history or to deny students the right to freely express religious convictions in the classroom.

Subparagraph 4.10 of the The South Dakota Republican Party platform "supports the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools and opposes deletions, changes or amendments to the Pledge. The Party supports the display of the South Dakota Motto – "Under God, the People Rule" – in our schools. The Party also supports display of the Ten Commandments in our schools."

Texas Republicans, like Oklahoma's, believe that creationism and intelligent design have a place in science classes taught in public schools (see our separate section on creationism/intelligent design). Other provisions in the "Educating Our Children" section of the Texas GOP platform include:

American Identity Patriotism and Loyalty "“ We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.

Classroom Discipline "“We recommend that local school boards and classroom teachers be given more authority to deal with disciplinary problems. Corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas.

Religious Freedom in Public Schools "“ We urge school administrators and officials to inform Texas school students specifically of their First Amendment rights to pray and engage in religious speech, individually or in groups, on school property without government interference. We urge the Legislature to end censorship of discussion of religion in our founding documents and encourage discussing those documents.

Textbook Review "“ Until such time as all texts are required to be approved by the SBOE, each ISD that uses non-SBOE approved instructional materials must verify them as factually and historically correct. Also the ISD board must hold a public hearing on such materials, protect citizen's right of petition and require compliance with TEC and legislative intent. Local ISD boards must maintain the same standards as the SBOE.

Traditional Principles in Education "“ We support school subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America's legal, political and economic systems. We support curricula that are heavily weighted on original founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and Founders' writings.

In its section on Education, Vermont Republicans "believe that our education system should require a focus on personal responsibility, science and mathematics, and the importance of civics, American history and the principles of American government. American history must be taught at all grade levels and should start with our original historical and religious values, and the principles of American government. Primary source documents such as the United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers shall be used. We recognize the importance of instilling in our youth a respect for the fundamentals of our system of government, pride in our nation, and appreciation of our constitutional rights, freedoms and opportunities."

The Wyoming Republican Party platform notes that "biblical principles" should be considered in the teaching of the nation's history. In particular, "6. Teaching Historical Documents," reads:

The Wyoming Republican Party supports the teaching of the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the state of Wyoming, the Declaration of Independence, and other United States founding documents as well as the factual history and heritage of the United States in Wyoming schools and the historical evidence of the role of faith and biblical principles in the founding of our nation.

Related Sections in this Story:

About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
  • http://www.facebook.com/theusotsuki Steve Nickolas

    I just can't see how they fail to come to the conclusion that I did 15 years ago as a fundie: that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as a devout Christian is an idolatrous act.

    • Deborah_B

      I've wondered the same thing, Steve, about reciting the pledge and placing such devotion upon religious symbols. Also, giving oaths for many Christians is also wrong.

  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    This is not just indoctrination, but utterly complete and total brainwashing. It is also bibliolatry, idolatry, extremism (equivalent to Radical Islam, if not worse), abuse, unconstitutional, and anti-American, yet they accuse everyone else of doing exactly what they are doing, so add pure insanity to the list.

  • skater60

    I have to wonder. Aren't these the same states that God is now blasting with severe drought for the total evilness of their stand on Education and their general dumbness regarding all things religious? Nah….

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